HOPE'87: An Internship Experience

Coming to Vienna, at first, I thought that I would only be here to study, travel, get plugged in to a church and nothing else. But when hearing about internship opportunities still available for students through IES Abroad Vienna, I had to take advantage of it. Thus, I landed a position with HOPE’87 as an Assistant of the Secretary General. While my experiences lean more towards hands-on work in the field, learning the functions of an office space and how a non-governmental organization operates is something that would be new for me. This opportunity would also further develop practical skills and knowledge in an office environment.

My name is Phil Kim, and I come from the Greater Philadelphia Area in the United States and have grown up there my entire life. My nationality is Korean-American, and I was born in the US. Currently, I am a 4th year Senior at Penn State University where I am studying Sociology and Global & International Studies. Here in Vienna, I am with the program IES Abroad and studying European Society & Culture. My greatest focus is on Human Rights and being an advocate for the fight against modern day slavery, where I partner with organizations like End It Movement, A21 and International Justice Mission (IJM). My field experience takes me across a handful of cities in the US and abroad, with some of the notable ones include San Francisco/Oakland Bay Area, Costa Rica and Ukraine. These experiences were very hands-on, where I had the opportunity to work with a Korean Missionary and the Youth at a church in Costa Rica, teach English and talk about the Gospel in Ukraine, and host Youth Groups in the Bay Area, exposing them to the problems of homelessness and poverty, as well as engaging in the local community in the city. 

Now I am interning for HOPE’87 in Vienna. Daily tasks include reading over and revising interim/final reports from development projects across other HOPE’87 field offices from around the world, keeping the webpage up-to-date with projects, news and press releases, and take on other tasks that may pop up throughout the week. While working with this organization, learning valuable information about how a non-profit/non-governmental organization operates, as well as gaining new insights from a humanitarian and developmental perspective is something that I would tell anyone interested in NPOs/NGOs to go experience themselves. Although the office here in Vienna is a small one, it is a great way to get to know your colleagues which feels more like a family and do meaningful work for the organization.

While working in the office, it is inspiring to read and hear about different HOPE’87 projects happening around the world. Although the work comes in the form of revision, I can read projects and stories, for example, the Mobile Quality Schools in Bangladesh. These are schools that take places on buses and go to the youth living in slums, where otherwise, these children would not have the opportunity to go to school and have an education. Another example is the story of Shati Ghosh, who through YES Centre Tangail and HOPE’87, was able to have success in her beauty parlor business. Other projects and stories include equal opportunities in sports and recreation, education for special needs children, and youth empowerment for education and employment.

Being able to read and revise these reports brings me joy knowing that other people will be able to read them as well, and hopefully be inspired to give or get involved in some way. My hope is that people will continue to read about and share these stories to others so that developmental projects in underdeveloped countries can continually be supported through partner organizations and generous donors. Children, Youth and Young Adults, who would otherwise not have an opportunity for education and employment, are able to because of organizations like HOPE’87. Taking the experiences here, I plan on one day working for a bigger organization like IJM and A21 with a basic understanding on operations and day-to-day tasks needing to be fulfilled. Right now, I’m cherishing the moments and the valuable work being done with HOPE’87, no matter how small the tasks might seem, and I’m grateful for the time in between.

Yours truly,



Assistant of the Secretary General | HOPE’87

Undergraduate in Liberal Arts | The Pennsylvania State University

International Student | IES Abroad Vienna